What are some major symbols from the novel Lord of the Flies?

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Kristen Lentz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Conch-- The Conch shell represents order and civilization within the novel.  Ralph first uses it to call the other boys to their first assembly, and the boys show him the same respect to authority as they had the man with the megaphone at the airport.  Later, Ralph institutes the conch as a symbol of order in their assembly meetings, using it to signal when each boy has the floor and right to speak. 

The Signal Fire--Ralph is adamant about maintaining the signal fire throughout the novel.  He stresses its importance as their one chance to be rescued.  In many ways, the signal fire becomes the link between the boys and civilization.

The Beach--The beach is portrayed by Golding as being warm, golden, and inviting.  The boys set up their camps there in the protection of open light and sunshine.  The beach symbolizes safety.

The Jungle--Dark and mysterious, the jungle represents the unknown.  Depicted as having shadows and twisty creepers with shaded paths, the jungle becomes a fearful place for many of the boys who worry about what its dark corners might conceal.

The Lord of the Flies--One of the strongest symbols in the novel, the Lord of the Flies appears to Simon in the rotting visage of the sow's head.  The Lord of the Flies represents true evil and the genuine nature of the beast.

The Beast-- Symbolic of all the boys' worst fears and nightmares, the Beast takes many forms in the novel, from a 'snake thing' to a beast from the water or air.  The Beast symbolizes fear itself.


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Lord of the Flies

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